No matter how we approach New Year's Eve--with dazzlingexuberance, quiet reserve or indifference--it's hard to escape the sensethat another cycle of life has ended and a new one begun. We navigate theportal from 2008 into 2009, trying to catch our collective breath. But the passageseems clogged with the air of uncertainty. Whether it be radical endings due tothe economy, or endings that test our acumen and ingenuity on other levels-weare full-term pregnant with stakes higher than in many years past.
Turbulent endings may ultimately lead to powerfulbreakthroughs and renewal. Cultural evolution bears this out, as do our personalhistories, if we are aligned with growth. In evaluating our actions in face ofchallenges, I believe the present demands particular attention to the inner level ofcreating. The key notion being: in order to resolve issues that appear toexist outside, we need to look within.
These snapshots contain a distillation of optimisticperspectives that my clients and me, and most everyone we know are striving to implementduring this period of endings, toward renewal:
The Outer View:
In vulnerable times, outer circumstances can grip the mind'sattention too firmly. In thisstate, the outer level can appear daunting-a phenomenon that exists beyond us and beyond our direct influence. Wefeel out of control, and emotional discomfort sets in.
The Aerial View:
The discomfort we feel is actually a "call" that signals newopportunity. In order to decipher the signal, our perceptions need pullingback from outer circumstances. It's not about denial. Butby observing present challenges in the broader scope of our personal histories, the obstaclesare brought down to size. Fromthe aerial view we recall past endings survived, learning and confidencegained, circumstances that, a the time, felt even more dramatic these. Past evidence reveals that we ourselves are larger than circumstances, which are fleeting.
The Inner View:
Recognition is required to understand and benefit from thecall. Realizing that we are larger than they, circumstances can no longer hold ushostage. They might look like captors, but in truth they are reflections. When we experience tensions, lacks andfrustrations, it's tempting to panic or blame an outer condition. We forgetthat most often looking within is the wisest response. Circumstances, peopleand events often cannot be controlled. But going within to shift an attitude orbelief is where we do have control. Doing so will lead to new actions, and the shifting will be revealed inthe reflection of events.
The Long View:
No matter how much value we've instilled in our work, it maybe time to further enhance the value of our services. Aiming to create moreincome or celebrity is missing the mark. In contrast, aiming to create more value in service to others is building trust and attracting income. Most likely, you are now seeking morevalue for the dollars you are willing to spend. So is everyone else. We need to glance away from nervous preoccupation with theephemeral, and re-focus. It may take quite some time to navigate through thisyear's endings. Creating more genuine value for the people we serve may be challenging.But patience and a long-view focus will lead to improved conditions.
Endings lead to new beginnings, easily stated. But thisyear's end seems to call for something deeper than a beginning. It seems to demandrenewal. The kind experienced byreflecting on the inner level, where the most significant questions and answersare found. I remember reading oncea phrase that struck home: ‘Theinner subjective is primary.' Wecould call this little pearl one of nature's laws. It suggests that what wecreate in our minds and hearts is the primary generator for creating outcomesin the law of probability. Byextension, outer results are secondary.
During stressful times, it's reassuring to recall the inward realm asour refuge and primary place of power. Reflecting and sorting there awhile is the most powerful response to rough endings, and the first key tolife-giving renewal.